How Long Does It Take to Repair Your Credit Score?

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Last updated on August 24th, 2023

Finding out you have a damaged credit score isn’t fun. Neither is working hard to repair a bad credit score. Even fixing a credit score in the high 600s can seem like an endless task. But how long does it really take to repair your credit score? Wondering how fast you can improve your credit? Here’s what you need to know.

How Long to Build Credit from Scratch?

In most cases, building credit for the first time is more straightforward than repairing a damaged credit score. Those with no credit history might struggle to get their first credit card – but only because they’re looking in the wrong place.

Most credit cards are unsecured, meaning they don’t require a security deposit as collateral. No deposit, however, means that lenders rely on credit scores to judge applicants – and those with no credit score often find themselves frozen out of credit.

Secured cards are the ideal option for those new to credit. Because secured cards require a cash deposit, even those without a credit history can qualify. All you need to do is fill out an application, make a cash deposit (typically a minimum of $200), and apply.

After making your first payment, you’ll have taken the first step in establishing your credit history. It may take several months before your score starts to climb considerably, but pay your balance every month and your score will soar.

Top Secured Cards for Establishing Credit

There are plenty of great secured credit cards to establish credit. These include cards from major issuers, like Capital One, Discover, and Citibank.

One of the most popular secured cards on the market today is the OpenSky Visa from Capital Bank. The card requires no credit check, meaning it won’t impact your credit score negatively when you apply. By getting the OpenSky and making payments, you will quickly build your credit – without any harm.

Other features of the card include a vast knowledge base designed to help you improve your credit understanding, as well as a competitive APR. This combination of a quality interest rate and in-depth resources make the OpenSky the perfect tool to quickly build a positive credit history.

Other popular options for establishing credit include the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard, the Discover It Secured, and the Capital One Secured Platinum Mastercard.

How Long to Repair a Bad Credit Score?

While no one enjoys having a lower credit score, it is easier – and faster – to repair your credit. The best credit scores take years of hard work and dedication to achieve. But having an excellent credit score comes with risks – as well as rewards. Certain credit factors have a larger impact on your score than others, making even careless mistakes can cause your score to plummet.

Payment history is the factor with the largest impact on a person’s FICO credit score (worth about 35% of the total score). Similarly, credit use (or credit utilization) accounts for 30% of a FICO score. Someone with a perfect payment history can see their score fall by as many as 30 points – just for missing a payment. Conversely, someone with bad credit and a bad payment history won’t suffer as badly for the same problem.

Put simply, if your credit score is already bad, you have much less ground to cover before raising it. Missing a payment can take up to 18 months to wash off for those with excellent credit. Maxing out your credit card can add another three months – but fortunately, that is much easier to fix.

According to FICO, recovering from a bankruptcy, foreclosure, or short sale will take roughly seven years for those with a credit score over 720 – but only five years for someone with a 680 credit score. This example underlines just how badly someone with excellent credit can suffer from one financial misfortune.

The Best Credit Cards for Repairing Credit

Adding a line of credit is one of the best things to do if you want to raise your credit score. Adding another credit line raises the amount of available credit you have – and it lowers your credit utilization.

The perfect credit card for repairing credit, however, depends on your credit score. For those with excellent or good credit, a card like the Upgrade Card is a robust option. The Upgrade Card acts as a hybrid debt-consolidation/balance transfer card. Successful applicants gain access to a line of credit of up to $20,000, an APR as low as 6.99%, and flexible repayment plans of up to 60 months.

Those with a fair credit score have quality credit repair options, as well. These options include the Surge Platinum Mastercard, the Reflex Platinum Mastercard, the Total Visa, and the First Digital NextGen Mastercard. All these cards provide access to the credit you want, regular reporting to the major credit bureaus you need, and the purchase protection of the Visa and Mastercard payment networks.

Those with bad credit scores may struggle to find additional credit offers. That said, there are still plenty of decent credit cards available -including secured credit cards.

The First Access Solid Black Visa is a popular option for less-than-perfect credit. The card offers fast approval, reasonable credit limits, and regular reporting to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Other popular options include the Milestone Gold MasterCard and the Indigo Platinum Mastercard.


Repairing bad credit takes time and effort. It takes even more time for those with excellent credit that hit a few bumps in the road. For more information on repairing bad credit, check out our dedicated bad credit resources.

Related Article:  What’s the Fastest Way to Repair Bad Credit?

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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